The Election Commission is in constant touch with more than 8,000 intimidated voters over their mobile phones, urging them to vote without fear in the fifth phase.
The EC had already drawn up a list of voters in all phases, who have been intimidated by criminals and political parties. There are around 8,570 such voters in the fifth phase. A list of intimidators has also been prepared. Such vulnerability mapping of intimidated voters and sensitive booths has been done for the first time in Bengal.
“We have collected their mobile numbers and EC officials are in constant touch with them to boost their morale. We are urging them to come out and vote without any fear. If necessary we would escort them to the polling stations,” chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta said on Friday.
Thirty-eight constituencies in the four districts — West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and Burdwan — would be going to polls in the fifth phase on Saturday. The total number of voters in the fifth phase is 74.17 lakh. Around 2,600 booths in the fifth phase have been identified as critical.
“The sector officers reached the constituencies nearly two months ago and have been in constant touch with the voters. Security would be beefed up at the polling stations and in the outer tiers,” Gupta said.
The central forces have also reached the polling stations and the constituencies. They would first sanitise the area and the polling booths before poll personnel move in with the EVMs. Apart from this, choppers would be deployed to maintain a constant aerial surveillance.
Senior politicians of the Left Front such as Kiranmoy Nanda and Lakshman Seth have lodged complaints with the chief secretary on Friday, accusing Trinamool-backed goons have resorted to massive post-poll violence in East Midnapore.
“Nearly 200 families in Nandigram and 50 families in Khejuri have been rendered homeless soon after the polls in East Midnapore. The police are not taking any action,” Nanda said. He claimed that if immediate actions are not taken, situations in Khejuri, Nandigram and other places could turn volatile.
In the fifth and sixth phases, elections will be held in 19 assembly seats, of which seven have been declared Maoist- affected.
Leaders of all parties are saying they want to have a peaceful election and are requesting every citizen to cast votes. The administration and election commission also want a free, fair and peaceful election. Advertisement and posters have also been made to increase awareness. At a time when everyone is looking towards Jangalmahal, conducting a free and fair poll in the area is a challenge to the Election Commission.
“Police and forces are also deployed in the area to guarantee peace. We hope people will go to cast their vote,” said Surendra Gupta, the district magistrate in West Midnapore.
Probe for EVM hacker
The Election Commission has asked the police to probe into the allegation made by a CPI(M) leader that he had received an email with an offer to hack EVMs.